Share

The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Palin Endorsement / Israel-West Bank Issue / US-Iran Relations / Davos Forum / Water Rights

Participants:
John McLaughlin, Host
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune
Tom Rogan, National Review/Opportunity Lives
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner

Taped: Friday, January 22, 2016
Broadcast: Weekend of January 22-24, 2016

Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein
are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any
trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>




ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Palin For Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you ready to stump for Trump? I’m here to support the next president of the United States, Donald Trump!

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump receiving the endorsement of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Mrs. Palin, who ran as Senator John McCain’s vice presidential running mate during the 2008 election, is popular with some conservatives for her vociferous opposition to President Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: How much will Sarah Palin’s endorsement help Donald Trump?

Susan Ferrechio? And welcome.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Hello.

You know, I think that Donald Trump, that he’s sort of Teflon nature goes in both directions. When he says something that’s outrageous to some people, it seems to have absolutely no impact on him in the polls, he keeps rising and rising. And in the same sense, I think a Palin endorsement is going to neither help nor hurt him.

I think Trump is sort of a rising star on his own merit with the conservative base and with Republican voters. You know, it may help bring in some of the evangelical vote, which is what he really needs right now in Iowa. She’s very popular with those voters. So, in that sense, he may help Trump -- she may help Trump, rather.

But I think he is rising so quickly. He’s so far ahead of the pack nationally, that the Palin endorsement is not going to have a huge impact on him.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it’s a short term ploy for Iowa. She does have some appeal among the evangelical voters and they are a large portion of the Republican electorate in Iowa.

But, you know, let’s remember -- I mean, she helped destroy what little chance John McCain had of becoming president, because as a vice presidential running mate, she had zero credibility.

And I think if Trump continues to talk about how she’ll play a role in his administration, that’s not going to help him if indeed he does win the nomination and wants to look like he has some credibility as a leader of this country. I mean, she’s basically -- she’s basically regarded as a joke by much of the American electorate, I believe.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom Rogan?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/OPPORTUNITY LIVES: Yes, look, the problem with Palin -- and my big gripe with Palin personally came in 2012 when she criticized -- there was a Secret Service agent who’d been posting photos on his Facebook page, and she decided to use it as this tirade against the Secret Service, who had spent many months, 24 hours a day protecting her and her family during the 2008 campaign.

And to me, that just spoke to -- and I think I’ve only increased in this view -- the degree to which Sarah Palin is in many ways perfect for Trump, because these are two people who will say whatever and do whatever they can, without any concern about morality or respect for other people in order to build themselves up in the ladder. I’m not just saying that because of "National Review" edition this week, but it is a real problem.

And on that other point, if conservatism is to persuade new people, I think she’s a irrelevant quite frankly now. But the reason she’s irrelevant and the reason she can be negative is that she speaks to a notion of conservatism that is designed to be deliberately simplistic and devoid of intellectual value as a merit.

(LAUGHTER)

ROGAN: And that is not a merit.

MCLAUGHLIN: Our type of candidate, right?

(LAUGHTER)

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, speaking of turncoats, you know, what’s interesting is that Sarah Palin back in 2012 endorsed Ted Cruz and was very helpful for him getting over the top in the Senate with Tea Party support. Now, Ted Cruz is Donald Trump’s principal competitor now.

ROGAN: He’s usurped her throne.

PAGE: Yes, and I’m wondering what impact that’s going to have if some of Ted Cruz’s fans might switch -- I rather doubt that will happen. But there might be on some on the margin places where Palin helps.

FERRECHIO: Her greatest value for Trump right now is in Iowa. Now, because if he can Iowa and win New Hampshire, that in itself is a victory that could propel him, of course, in a much easier path to the nomination. So, her value for him really is purely, I think, Iowa. Beyond that, negligible I think.

CLIFT: I just wonder what John McCain is thinking, because she’s now endorsed the candidate that said McCain wasn’t a hero, wasn’t a war hero because he was captured. McCain has been very gentlemanly throughout all of this, but I do fault him for bringing Palin into the national conversation in the first place, when she was so clearly unqualified --

MCLAUGHLIN: What’s the answer to that?

CLIFT: -- to be on that ticket.

MCLAUGHLIN: Why did he choose her?

CLIFT: Why did he choose her? Because he was behind in the polls and he was looking for that injection of excitement, and she did do that, and he, to this day, says he’s grateful for the fact that, you know, she ginned up that campaign. They got tens of thousands of people coming to the rallies.

But she didn’t wear well because she doesn’t have the credentials to step in as an instant president if that had -- if that were the case, you know, if he had gone on to win the presidency. Anybody who regrets John McCain and win the presidency I think looks at Sarah Palin and says, thank goodness.

ROGAN: I also think, one interesting thing is my conservative female friends, whether they’re working on the Hill or wherever, people my age, one of the things they really don’t like about Sarah Palin is that for -- I don’t think it’s such an issue now -- but for a long time, she really dominated the discourse with some people in the fanatical left saying these are conservative women at senior levels. And she’s such a non-representative of conservative women, in terms of, you know, intellect and passion and willingness to, you know, engage with people.

FERRECHIO: However, however, you’re leaving out the fact that -- everyone here are all putting down Sarah Palin -- that she has great appeal to conservative base still. Still. It’s been quite enduring, even though it’s been a long time since she’s been on the ticket or really been involved in politics.

She’s still very popular and still well-liked. And I think in that sense, she can attract more of the type of voter that Donald Trump is already attracting.

ROGAN: Right. But do you think she can get anyone who isn’t already with Trump, right?

FERRECHIO: Well, that’s the question -- no, probably not. But her value in Iowa, though --

CLIFT: Well, maybe some of --

FERRECHIO: But with the Trump/Cruz fight in Iowa, that’s where she can come --

CLIFT: Maybe some of what we call "values voters" because Trump has been married a couple of times, is a New York billionaire and all that sort of thing.

FERRECHIO: Right, exactly, exactly.

CLIFT: I think she does serve a purpose, I agree with you.

FERRECHIO: That’s right. She’s right. Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said Ted Cruz’s stand on ethanol would hurt Iowa’s economy, and he questioned why anyone would vote for him.

Between Palin’s endorsement of Trump and Branstad’s thumbs down, what can you expect next?

I ask you, Susan.

FERRECHIO: Well, this is really interesting. The ethanol fight in Iowa, this is one of the more interesting aspects of the Iowa fight because, of course, Iowa’s economy and ethanol are closely linked and you got -- the entire state is a corn field basically because everybody is making money off the ethanol and there’s a great deal of resistance to ridding that.

But in Congress, it’s -- there’s a lot of discussion about trying to get rid of the whole ethanol. So --

CLIFT: It’s a one thing that I like about Ted Cruz that he didn’t bow down to the ethanol gods.

FERRECHIO: Right.

CLIFT: That’s because he’s in the pocket of big oil in Texas. So, you know, pick your poison.

PAGE: Speaking of political correctness, which supposedly Republicans are opposed to, we’ve seen all around, the ethanol issue and the oil issues. I think, Ted Cruz was very -- either brave or foolhardy, depending on how you want to look --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: -- because it’s almost against the law in Iowa to speak ill of corn.

(CROSSTALK)

FERRECHIO: It’s tough in Congress, too. It’s, you know, you get murmurings of how are we going to deal with this and nothing ever happens because you’ve got some powerful senators and congressmen who are going to make sure that that never happens. And Ted Cruz has bucked them from the very beginning and he’s willing to do it on this issue.

PAGE: They don’t like him either.

FERRECHIO: Right, that’s right.

ROGAN: But one of the important things on ethanol, though, is, of course, that Governor Branstad son is the guy who’s in charge of the ethanol. I mean, there is no better example of crony capitalism and political patronage.

And I think actually, when we’re talking about the debate, about issues, engaging new people with conservatism, that is a good example of why, quite frankly, you want someone like Ted Cruz eho at least has the intellectual caliber to stand up on particular issue, because Sarah Palin is endorsing Trump. She whines about these different things, but at the same time, there is no better example of crony --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Well, there are layers --

PAGE: -- Mayor Daly of Chicago said, if a man can’t help his sons, as my sainted grandmother said, I’ve got a mistletoe on my coattail.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Palin --

CLIFT: There are layers upon layers of hypocrisy. But in the end, the Branstad criticism of Cruz is going to hurt Cruz a lot more than Palin’s endorsement of Trump.

ROGAN: But he’s still doing well in Iowa, which is --

MCLAUGHLIN: Well --

ROGAN: I think he’s going to win Iowa.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s take a lot longer look at it.

Palin’s track record with campaign endorsement, what is her track record?

She’s endorsed more than 60 candidates nationwide, and more than half of those have won their races. That is a good track record.

PAGE: Including Ted Cruz.

ROGAN: Her star has fallen.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Am I right or wrong?

CLIFT: That was then, this is now.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: She’s struggling.

PAGE: I wouldn’t sell her short yet, though, because Sarah Palin does have a lot of goodwill out there with folks in her country. I call it Palinland because we’re talking about voters --

MCLAUGHLIN: Does she know the way you feel about it?

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: Yes, we met at a gridiron dinner one winter. I must say I was charmed. That was back in 2012 --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: We all linked arms and sang "Auld Lang Syne" with Sarah Palin.

PAGE: But we do that with everybody.

CLIFT: I know.

PAGE: We did that with Ted Cruz, too. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: But, no, she’s a very charming woman, doesn’t know squat about public policy, but, you know, she’s very -- she’s well-intentioned. Put it that way.

ROGAN: But if you’re a concerned conservative, go with Trump. I mean, sorry, Trump, go with --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: Heresy --

ROGAN: Heresy. Twitter is going to go on that.

Go with Cruz, because at least you have an intellectual caliber there and someone who wants to burn and has burnt the system down, whatever you think of that, versus Palin, who I think, you know, follows the own -- you know, the path of her own narcissism.

MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear Page’s ultimate positive criticism of her, of point?

PAGE: Yes, what did I say?

MCLAUGHLIN: She’s well-intentioned.

PAGE: There you go.

MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.

CLIFT: Yes, I’m not so sure about that, to be honest.

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question, multiple choice exit: how big a boost is Palin’s endorsement for Trump? Is it colossal, major, moderate, minor, or negligible?

Susan?

FERRECHIO: Negligible is what I say.

MCLAUGHLIN: Then, Eleanor?

CLIFT: I’m going to go minor.

ROGAN: Negligible.

PAGE: I’ll say minor for the time being, until I’m proved wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: What are you saying?

MCLAUGHLIN: I’m just looking at some of the things that are involved here. I think it’s pretty important. Trump needs a strong ground game to get his voters to turn out for the caucuses. And --

FERRECHIO: In Iowa, it’s important. Yes, I agree with that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

And I will say that Palin did I say this, has endorsed more than 60 candidates nationwide and more than half of those have won their races. That’s a good track record. I’ll stick with that.

Issue Two: Israel West Bank Woes?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): The Obama administration sparked controversy this week when it failed to condemn a European Union, E.U. product labeling policy that Israel fiercely opposes. Under the recent E.U. regulations, member states can require Israel companies in the West Bank to label their exported products as "West Bank", quote-unquote, rather than Israel in origin.

And the E.U. and the U.S. government oppose Israeli settlements in the West Bank designated land they say that must be held for a future Palestinian state. But Israel believes these restrictions are prejudicially and even anti-Semitic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: What is the significance of, quote-unquote, "made in the West Bank", unquote, labels? Tom Rogan?

ROGAN: The significance is the economic impact that Israel concerns, it has concerns about it in terms of Europeans not wanting to buy these products, because they believe that it’s Palestinian land and thus it’s immoral to buy those products.

I would say here, though, the difficulty that you see is that on the one side, I think most people around the world would say, and I certainly I would also say, that West Bank settlement construction on the part of the Israeli government is profoundly negative, both of the United States, in terms of the indirect consequences of that, in terms of our relationships with important partners in the Arab world.

But at the same time, putting these boycotts on them, and I’m afraid that’s what it is, the negative impact of that is that it puts -- it simplifies what is an incredibly complex issue.

CLIFT: It’s not a boycott.

ROGAN: And it defers the necessary diplomatic choices because the West Bank, very quickly, it will be the ’67 borders with associated swaps. So, some of that land will be Israeli.

CLIFT: It’s not a boycott. It’s truth in advertising. These products are made in the West Bank. And for consumers who believe that Israeli settlement building and manufacturing in the West Bank is illegal, they then have a choice not to buy those products.

So, I don’t --

PAGE: It sounds like a boycott to me.

CLIFT: Yes, but it’s -- you know, who’s boycotting them? You’re just putting on there where it’s made. I don’t think you can call that a boycott.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Reading the Ayatollah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For decades to come, inspectors will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain. In other words, if Iran tries to cheat and they try to build a bomb covertly, we will catch them.

MCLAUGHLIN: The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, says Iran has sent 98 percent of its enriched uranium stock abroad and deactivated most of its nuclear centrifuges. As a result, Iran is now receiving sanctions relief, and approximately $100 billion in previously frozen assets.

Iran has also freed four Americans, including reporter Jason Rezaian and Amir Hekmati, a U.S. marine veteran.

Iran says the U.S. paid a $1.7 billion ransom for the prisoners, but the White House says that payment was separate.

Regardless, tensions remain real. Iran briefly detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors last week, and three U.S. citizens are missing in Iraq. Iranian supported militias are suspected.

And in Davos, Switzerland, Iran’s foreign minister slammed the new U.S. sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program as proving a U.S., quote, "addiction to coercion", end quote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: Are the Iranians are right? Did President Obama pay a ransom to Iran for the release of the four American prisoners? Susan Ferrechio?

FERRECHIO: Well, I think that we’ve also let up on sanctions of worth more than $100 billion, which is going to help them fund terrorism and who knows what else? So, overall, I think the U.S. paid a really heavy price overall for the nuclear agreement and to get those Americans out.

CLIFT: Well, the White House denies it paid any kind of a ransom. So, I don’t know that we necessarily should take Iran’s word over the administration. Secondly, the money that’s gone to them was part of the nuclear deal, and it’s their money that’s been frozen and the administration is now going ahead with sanctions on ballistic missile testing, which is -- they’re not supposed to be doing, but that’s separate from the nuclear deal.

Look, the tensions are not going to go away, but an important diplomatic channel has been opened up with this country, and the fact that those sailors were freed so immediately. And the big game in the Middle East now is to try to resolve the Syrian civil war, and you got to get Iran and Saudi Arabia on the same page.

And so, a lot of diplomatic maneuvering, but I think the relationship with Iran and particularly Foreign Minister Zarif, between him and John Kerry, is a very positive and productive one.

MCLAUGHLIN: You wouldn’t call it a ransom?

CLIFT: I wouldn’t call it a ransom, no.

MCLAUGHLIN: But it is a ransom.

ROGAN: It is a ransom.

Yes, whether -- there are a couple of problems here. Look, the Iranians are building a ballistic missile because they want a delivery platform for nuclear weapons. It’s the only purpose, they’re not accurate.

The secondary point is they will use this money they expand their proxy power across the Middle East, blowing people up they don’t like, disappearing people like Rob Levinson, they don’t like.

And, you know, the Saudi monarchy is going to throw money at groups like al Qaeda. It’s going to metastasize.

Iran -- they’ll cheat once they got the ballistics, they’ll have a nuclear arms race.

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: But what’s their motive for having a nuclear arms race? I mean, this is --

ROGAN: The Saudis are going to do it.

PAGE: This is one of the issues --

ROGAN: Because they become the dominant actor in the Middle East. They will not use it as a nuclear weapon, but they’ll use it for nuclear blackmail.

PAGE: You’re not talking about Iran, though. You’re talking about the Saudis.

ROGAN: The Saudis will do it to counter-balance Iran.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Who is Bob -- excuse me. Who is Bob Levinson and why was he excluded in the prisoner release?

FERRECHIO: He’s a working CIA and disappeared --

CLIFT: No, FBI.

FERRECHIO: And the FBI, and then the CIA. He’s missing in Iran and hasn’t been heard from in five years.

ROGAN: The Iranians killed him. I mean, that’s --

FERRECHIO: And I think that’s why he wasn’t part of the deal, because nobody knows where he is.

MCLAUGHLIN: Welcome to Davos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will do our best at the federal level to make this a, not just a moon shot but a priority. Aware, everyone will be aware this is one of the priorities for this administration this last year.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Seeking to counter cancer and climate change. It’s the 2016 World Economic Forum’s winter meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Bringing together around 2,500 business leaders, politicians and celebrities, the forum facilitates discussion on key international concerns. Established in 1971 by German professor Klaus Schwab, the forum is known for its exclusive guest list. At Davos, colored badges to find a delegate’s access to events.

Still, this year’s forum is focused on climate change, terrorism, and fears over the global economy. One key concern is energy prices. With Iran now entering the already heavily supplied global oil market and China’s economy in trouble, some people believe oil prices could decline even further.

Dennis Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, says, quote, "some people are speculating oil could reach $10 a barrel," end quote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: Have energy prices bottomed out or will they continue to drop? Clarence Page?

PAGE: Well, I’m going to say that I don’t know, because nobody knows for sure. But I think they’re going to go down more, simply because of the way the Saudis will be flooding the market, trying to actually undercut our fracking and all here domestically in the U.S., among other sources.

ROGAN: They’re going to fail.

PAGE: Yes, they’re probably going to fail. But that’s one of the reasons why oil prices have been plummeting as they have.

CLIFT: The steel containers that you put the oil into to transport it now are more expensive than the oil in those containers. It’s really a dramatic change, and it’s reshaping the politics of the Middle East.

Now, if Iran wants to come in and sort of flood the market with cheap oil, hey, let them have at it, because they wouldn’t make -- they wouldn’t make much money out of it and we can keep our oil in the ground. So, I don’t think as a worrisome thing.

FERRECHIO: Well, I think we have to look at China, too. The economy there has been as robust as it had been, and that’s a big driving factor in the oil prices decreasing and its impact on the economy here in America.

ROGAN: Yes, I think that’s the thing. But I think ultimately it’s very good. The Chinese restructuring, I think it’s that wealth gap and urban to rural poverty, you know, wage inflation. But that was going to happen.

I think the oil prices -- I think it’s very good. It keeps more money in American pockets. The shale boom is going to overtake the Saudis. They can’t undercut it.

But one of the big impetus, though, is the connection point to politics, because unless they reform their political culture, one thing you have to engage in, there are a lot of very young people and not a lot of resources. That is a swamp for terrorists.


FERRECHIO: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. Well, that’s interesting, but here’s the answer. World growth was overestimated. China is not consuming as much of oil as expected. The U.S. invested in energy projects, lift the ban on oil export and make, quote, "energy efficient", unquote, its aim. Former oil producers’ reaction made them pump and overstock oil. Iranian oil to be added as well, sending oil prices to the bottom.

You got it?

PAGE: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: You go along with that?

PAGE: Those are good reasons, yes.

CLIFT: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: You dispute that?

CLIFT: No.

FERRECHIO: Sounds about right.

CLIFT: Does your magic source tell us where we should invest?

MCLAUGHLIN: No --

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: And win, even more important.

CLIFT: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Magic source is very concern about some of this leaking out on an improper channel. He says, you have it, McLaughlin, but you know how to use it. You betcha, I’m with you.

CLIFT: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Five: Hold the Water.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama vetoed a congressional resolution challenging the, quote-unquote, "clean water rule" established by the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA. The rule asserts that, quote-unquote, "small waterways" fall under federal authority.

President Obama says his veto is necessary for water quality protection. But many Republicans and some Democrats disagree, saying his rule will hurt farmers, construction companies and local governments, forcing them to seek permits before dealing with a localized water supply entity.

One such opponent, Republican Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, says, quote, "We all want clean water. This rule is not about clean water. Rather, it is about how much how much authority the federal government and unelected bureaucrats should have to regulate what is done on private lands," end quote.

Still, water shortages are an escalating concern. And facing the ongoing drought in California, businessman Scott Slater is seeking to supply Los Angeles with water by pumping 800 billion gallons of H2O, 200 miles from the Mojave Desert.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Who is right? Eleanor?

CLIFT: These are two separate stories.

The first story about the congressional resolution, this was introduced by Senator Joni Ernst, and it’s primarily to protect Iowa pig farmers, who are dumping hog waste into the waterways, and they don’t want to pay for it, and they want to get out from under the federal government. So, that’s a bad bill. It will be vetoed.

The second story about pumping all that water from under the desert, I think that needs a whole lot more examination. I mean, that is a protected area. Dianne Feinstein, senator, saw to that a number of years ago. All kinds of ramifications if you’re draining water from the water table under the desert.

So -- he’s doing it. It’s a moneymaking venture for him, although he hasn’t made any money yet. So, I’m highly suspicious of that.

PAGE: That is a big reason why we want -- well, it’s preferable to have federal oversight --

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: -- because you do have these waterways that cross over borders and -- or will impact multiple states. And the feds wind up being the arbitrators, anyway, in the deal, so might as well have them in early. But the states are going to fight back.

FERRECHIO: They are. It’s --

MCLAUGHLIN: But Slater is involved in this.

FERRECHIO: Uh-huh.

MCLAUGHLIN: He wants to make some money.

CLIFT: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: How much money could Scott Slater make by taking water from the Mojave Desert and selling it in San Bernardino or Los Angeles?

A theoretical answer is around $50 billion over several decades. But, first, he and his hedge fund backers would have to build a 200-mile-long pipeline.

What do you think of it?

FERRECHIO: Well, water in the West, it’s the biggest issue out there -- the struggle to bring water to area. And so, if someone can figure out an innovative way to do it, I know it’s going to get close examination, and it’s going to be very profitable.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you much of that in the Congress?

FERRECHIO: Congress right now was actually quite focus on the Waters of the USA rule because Republicans feel it’s actually an overreach by the president. I suspect it won’t survive a Republican administration. I think they’ll probably roll that back.

ROGAN: Well, and I think the balancing point here is that, if we have a situation, like in North Carolina, or Eleanor mentions it in Iowa with pig farmers.

CLIFT: Right.

ROGAN: The federal law exists to be able to punish. We should increase the fines, if you’re putting it into public waterways. But the problem with this regulation is that, you know, the president’s State of the Union says, yes, there are some bad regulations. What drives people in Congress crazy, and I think understandably is that this is actually, as he is applying it, a crazy regulation because it will prohibit people on their own land doing construction, doing drainage operations, and that impinges economic growth.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s see if there’s a question buried in there that we can use. Is it a good idea to tap desert aquifers to water lawns and fill pools in southern California?

CLIFT: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?

You’ve already answered it, Eleanor.

CLIFT: There’s probably an environmental cost to that. I’d have to know a lot more about that. I mean, I’m very suspicious that that can be done without creating bigger problems.

MCLAUGHLIN: You should remove suspicion. The answer is yes. It is prohibitive in costed, correct?

PAGE: Well, yes, you do run into politics when you’re crossing state lines with the sort --

MCLAUGHLIN: I’m right.

ROGAN: Yes.

CLIFT: Right.

FERRECHIO: Well, I think anyway you can bring water out to the west, I think that’s going to be a top of conversation there and people are going to try to do it and eventually, I think you’ll see somebody come up with a plan like that.

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

ROGAN: Yes, I mean, people need water, don’t they, obviously. But, you know, in the Middle East -- again, we’re talking about oil prices declining, they’re running out of water as well. So, we could be seeing -- the next wars will be the water wars.

CLIFT: I think --

PAGE: Yes, we don’t know, yes.

CLIFT: Desalination is probably a better idea for California.

FERRECHIO: That’s right.

ROGAN: The West Bank, there’s an aquifer under there --

(CROSSTALK)

FERRECHIO: Yes, that’s right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction for the panel: the FBI will recommend that Hillary Clinton face prosecution for mishandling classified information. That’s the FBI.

Yes, or no? Susan, call on you.

FERRECHIO: No.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: No.

ROGAN: Yes.

PAGE: I’m going to say yes, but she won’t be indicted.

MCLAUGHLIN: I’m with you.

Bye-bye!

END